HILL BACK TO SPEED Sunday, Dublin, Ireland: California's Derek Hill showed few ill effects from the 120 mph accident at Brands Hatch three weeks ago when he resumed his Formula Palmer Audi season at Mondello Park in Ireland . But lady luck...
HILL BACK TO SPEED
Sunday, Dublin, Ireland: California's Derek Hill showed few ill effects from the 120 mph accident at Brands Hatch three weeks ago when he resumed his Formula Palmer Audi season at Mondello Park in Ireland .
But lady luck was not smiling on the 1997 Barber Dodge Champion and he was involved in incidents in both the races at RAC Super Prix, Ireland's top race meeting. Thus 18th place in race one and a retirement in race two was little reward for a hectic weekend.
Nevertheless Hill proved that his confidence had not been dented by the huge accident at the Kent circuit which saw him hospitalized with concussion. Hill was equipped with a brand new 240 bhp Audi turbo powered Formula Palmer car, which like all the other cars is run by former Grand Prix driver Palmer's own team.
Commented Derek, "Despite not getting a result, I'm pleased with the way I drove. Its been quite a mental battle these last two weeks. Physically I only feel about 90% but I'm training harder than ever. Now I'm looking forward to Snetterton, a track where I've tested, I feel I can deliver a good result there." In qualifying for the first of two races in this double-header programme Derek, son of the 1961 World Champion Phil Hill, was 12th fastest, 1.2 secs slower than pole man Richard Tarling. Indeed Tarling, a winner in the series last year, went on to dominate the meeting and scored wins in both rounds four and five.
In race one Derek was running just outside the top ten when, a couple laps from the end, he was hit by Sam Hancock, the winner of the previous round at Brands Hatch. Teenager Hancock later apologised but added he had been struggling with a car with a malfunctioning clutch. After the spin Derek continued to come home 18th but still ahead of Ryan Jones, the American Le Mans series driver making his debut in Formula Palmer Audi. Las Vegas based Jeff Shafer was able to claim his best result in the series thus far with a fine fourth place.
The second race ended very early for Hill. He had qualified an excellent ninth, this time only 0.5 sec off the pole time of Justin Keen. In a ragged race which saw a number of incidents Derek tangled with Britain's Paul Munn on the third lap and had to retire with suspension damage. Shafer also drove into retirement in this race, leaving only Ryan Jones of the American trio to finish in 15th place.